Allegheny County

Man told girlfriend he was going to see puppy when he killed mother of unborn child, police say

MCKEESPORT, Pa. — The father of a McKeesport woman’s unborn child has been arrested in her and the baby’s death.

Karli Short, 26, of McKeesport, died on 25th Street in September. Short was five months pregnant when she was murdered.

Through their investigation, detectives determined that the father of the unborn child, 25-year-old Isaac Smith of McKeesport, was responsible for the killing.

Smith shot Short in the head behind the 25th Street home she shared with an uncle shortly before 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 13, according to police.

On September 13, 2021 at 10:32 a.m., McKeesport Police and Paramedics were called to the 300 block of 25th Street for a...

Posted by Allegheny County Police Department on Friday, November 5, 2021

Smith is charged with criminal homicide and homicide of an unborn child.

Members of Short’s family knew Smith only by his first name and that he may have worked at a bank in McKeesport, but no one in the family had ever met him, according to the criminal complaint.

McKeesport police were able to identify Smith because a detective was familiar with him and had seen him at the bank, court records state.

Allegheny County Police obtained search warrants for cell phone records and conducted forensic downloads of cell phones as part of their investigation of Short’s murder.

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In the court filing, police said they found no information on Smith’s phone that he had told anyone about Short’s pregnancy. According to a download of his phone, Short sent him text messages on Sept. 11, two days before she died, asking him for money and discussing plans for a gender reveal party, which Smith was expected to attend.

A woman identified as Smith’s girlfriend told police that Smith left her home in McKeesport around 11 p.m. on Sept. 12 to see a friend’s new puppy in Homestead, and that Smith sent her a text at midnight, the complaint states.

The McKeesport police’s ShotSpotter system recorded a gunshot in the area of 25th Street at about 12:23 a.m. on Sept. 13.

According to the complaint, Short’s uncle heard her talking with someone on the phone, and ask, “Are you coming to the front or the back?”

Police said Smith called Short at 12:20 a.m. using a Tracfone that another person had obtained for him in August. The call, made from near Short’s home, lasted 1 minute and 20 seconds.

Short walked to the back of the house, and the uncle heard the alarm system announce that the back door was open. The uncle said he heard a gunshot and started calling out for Short.

Saying he is disabled and unable to walk to the back yard, her uncle assumed Short went with whoever she was meeting in the back alley and told police that gunshots are not uncommon in the neighborhood.

Short’s body was not found for about 10 hours. McKeesport police were dispatched to the address in response to the discovery of a body in the back yard shortly after 10:30 a.m.

Video from the alarm system shows Short walk out the back door at 12:22 a.m., but does not clearly show the area where her body was found, which was on a sidewalk adjacent to Furnace Alley.

During an interview the night of Sept. 13, Smith told police he had a sexual relationship with Short, that she told him she was pregnant and that he was the father.

Smith said he attended one of Short’s prenatal appointments, the complaint states. Smith claimed he was with another woman, that he said was his girlfriend, at her home in McKeesport late on the evening of Sept. 12 and into the next morning of Sept. 13.

Short’s father, Brandon Short, played football at McKeesport Area High School before starring in Penn State’s defense. He was drafted in 2000 by the New York Giants and also played for the Carolina Panthers.

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